Today, I am pleased to have Vannetta Chapman joining me for a question and answer session. Her newest book is Falling to Pieces. Welcome, Vannetta!
Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself
I went back to school after my son went to kindergarten and earned a BA and MA degree in English. After that I began writing articles for Christian family magazines while I was teaching. I ended up publishing over 100 of those. They focused on home and family life, raising teens, and education. I’ve been married to my husband for 12 years. Together we have 4 children, all grown now. My first Amish novel was published with Abingdon Press in 2010 and titled, A Simple Amish Christmas. It quickly became a Christian Books Distributor bestseller. My September release was a Shipshewana Amish Mystery, Falling to Pieces (Zondervan) and was also a CBD fiction bestseller. I also write Amish romance for Harvest House. A Promise for Miriam: Pebble Creek Series will release in June of 2012.
Why did you choose to write about the Amish?
My agent suggested I try my hand at Amish romances, and Zondervan wanted me to try an Amish mystery. I love the genre and feel a real connection with the people. My grandfather was born in Albion, PA, my father grew up speaking German in his home, and I now live in a small rural farming community. Overall the genre is a very good fit for me.
What is the inspiration behind your newest novel?
Friendship! I wanted to write about a young woman who felt isolated, then lands in a close-knit community of Amish folk. I had taught 15 years at the high school and collegiate level, and I’d seen a lot of young people who felt disconnected from their roots. I wanted to write a story about that–about how important friendship is and how we can find it no matter what stage of our life we’re in.
Which character can you identify the most with?
Oh, I think I identify with all the women in this story. Callie is from Texas. Deborah is a mother of 5. Ruth is the grandmother who still prays over her grown children. Melinda is the mother of a handicapped child. There are pieces of me in all of these characters.
Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
The message of Falling to Pieces is a message of grace and forgiveness. Odd for a murder mystery? Maybe, but several characters in this story are running from their past. Callie Harper is from Texas and she knows nothing of Amish, Indiana, or quilting. This story is a journey for her. She has to either embrace the people around her or find a way to survive alone. She lands amongst a people of grace, and she learns to accept that for what it is–an offering from God. She lets it heal her. I think we all have that opportunity, where ever we live.
While writing about the Amish have you learned anything about their customs that has surprised you?
That they visit their public library often. That they are open and welcoming of outsiders, and that their home doesn’t look that different from mine. I’m continually surprised by what I learn about them. They’re very kind and pretty much common folk, same as the neighbors I have here in Texas.
What inspired you to become an author?
I love to read! I’ve always been an avid reader. After I earned my graduate degree, I realized I could probably write, and that maybe God could use the things I’d been through personally, the grace He’d showered me with … maybe I could share that through stories.
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I have to pick one? I’d say the responses I receive from readers. That’s truly humbling and makes everything else worthwhile.
Do you have anything that you would like to share?
I’d love to hear from people on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks), my blog ((vannettachapman.wordpress.com), and my webpage ((www.VannettaChapman.com).
What’s next for you?
A Perfect Square releases in March. One again, Amish-English sleuthing duo Deborah Yoder and Callie Harper set out to solve a murder. But more than an innocent man’s future is at stake. In book two of the Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, God’s grace touches the long-lost past as well as lives shaken by current tragedy. I adore this story, and bring back all the characters from book one (including Max the dog). It’s a really lovely story of grace and hope.